About Us

Climate Action Plan

Scotland has declared a climate emergency and our historic environment has unique potential to inspire climate action, as set out in this action plan.

Scotland’s historic sites are awe-inspiring, bringing visitors to marvel at our castles, cairns, abbeys and palaces. And much of our daily life takes place in the historic buildings that have become our much-loved homes, workplaces, schools and community spaces.

But our historic environment is on the front line of climate change.

We must harness the power of Scotland’s history to foster positive behaviour change and increase resilience to climate change in communities across the country. We cannot face the climate emergency and its effects on our heritage alone.

Our Climate Action Plan details our climate action ambitions for the historic environment for 2020–2025, which we can realise by working together.

Tantallon Castle in the pinky sunset

What is the plan?

A plan that sets out how we will place the environmental impact of our activities at the heart of our policy and strategy decision-making processes – and support others to do the same.

Get the plan

Plan themes

The Climate Action Plan sets out seven key areas of climate action which will be our focus for 2020–2025 and beyond:

Theme Action
Climate impacts and adaptation We will continue to research and monitor the effects of climate change on the historic environment. The more we know, the better we can help it to adapt.
Energy and carbon management We will accelerate our energy efficiency and carbon management efforts in line with the Scottish Government’s ambitious new emissions reduction targets.
Circular economy We will work towards zero waste operations, in which we maintain, repair, upgrade, repurpose, reuse and recycle everything we use in a continual loop.
Sustainable tourism We will give our visitors the right facilities, infrastructure and information to lessen the environmental impact of visits. As we continue to widen access to the historic environment, we will ensure that we grow in a responsible way.
Sustainable procurement We will ensure that the goods and services we procure add value socially or environmentally. We will continue to support the wider use of sustainable materials and construction techniques.
Biodiversity We will maintain the ecological value of our sites by embedding biodiversity and landscape management into all relevant decision making.
Sustainable travel We will reduce the impact of staff commuting and business travel by promoting low-carbon travel and alternatives to travel. We will also provide more sustainable options for visitor travel to our sites.
A sign on the coast by a castle which reads "Danger, falling rocks"

Why is action needed?

Find out how climate change threatens Scotland’s heritage. View our series of short films about Climate Change Impacts on the Historic Environment.

Watch our short films

How we work

Four activity strands underpin the seven key areas of climate action in the Climate Action Plan:

  • Research and innovation: Continued research and engagement across own areas of expertise and with partners will support innovative solutions to climate change.
  • Partnership working: Nurturing new and existing partnerships will give us our best chance at achieving further climate action successes.
  • People and culture: Putting in place sustainable practices rests upon inspiring behaviour change among our employees, partners, visitors, stakeholders and others.
  • Education and training: Leading by sharing our knowledge and best practice will give others the practical tools they need to take climate action too.


A person wearing a hardhat, standing on a balcony overlooking Glasgow's George Square, holding up a climate impacts guide

Climate action resources

Explore our full range of climate action resources, from Technical Papers that share research findings to Short Guides equally suited to homeowners and professionals.

Explore resources